The Great Debate UK
The financial crisis has rallied support for euro adoption in many European countries outside the currency bloc, yet in Britain the discussion is so far confined to a few voices among the policy elite.
The politics of the issue remain as fraught as ever, and Britons appear no more willing to lose monetary sovereignty in a recession than they were in the boom years.
For most of the last decade, as the flexible, finance-driven British economy was roaring ahead of its sluggish continental cousins, the economic and political case for joining the single European currency was hard to make.
A Eurosceptical tabloid press helped scare former Prime Minister Tony Blair out of his initial intention to lead Britain into the euro. The 2003 Iraq war drained the political capital he would have needed to win public support.
Eric Auchard is a Reuters columnists. The opinions expressed in this column are his own.
For years, Web retailers have touted their convenience and efficency over conventional retailers, and enjoyed surging double-digit sales growth, especially in the crucial year-end holiday shopping season. But the steady draining of consumer confidence reflected in recent government data and the latest market research reports suggest the online retail industry is bracing for a humbling first-ever year of flat or even contracting holiday sales.
Peter Hemington is a Corporate Finance Partner at BDO Stoy Hayward. The views expressed are his own.
Over the past few weeks several business surveys, including our own BDO Business Trends report, have painted a very gloomy picture of the UK economy. Short and medium term business confidence continues to plummet as the credit crunch takes its toll on unemployment figures, the housing market, the ability or desire that banks have to lend and consumer spending.
Mark Schofield is a tax partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. The views expressed are his own.
There were a number of initiatives unveiled to kick start the UK economy which will increase the budget deficit for 2009/2010 to £118 billion. The Chancellor assured the House of Commons that finances would be back in balance by 2013/14 at which point the country “will only be borrowing to fund investment”. By that year the net UK government debt will be over £1 trillion representing 57.4% of GDP, compared with an estimate of £602 billion, 39.4%, for 2008/9.
Roger Bootle is economic adviser to Deloitte. The views expressed are his own.
The Chancellor was right to try to give some help to the economy but, while the scale of the increase in future borrowing is huge, the economic effect of the reduction in VAT will be tiny.
The size of the PBR package, about £9 billion this year, rising to £16bn next year, was roughly equal to what had been mooted in the media. But the scale of the measures, although they sound large, is in fact small.